The Well-Mannered Mother or blog reader may occasionally suffer a pang of self-doubt, wondering, “what if my hand-me-downs have become somebody else’s “hand-me-downer” or dreaded bag of junk?” While we want to assure our gentle readers that we highly doubt it, we will offer a few thoughts on giving hand-me-downs gracefully.
First, a well-mannered mother looks over each potential hand-me-down with fresh eyes. How bad are the holes, stains, pilling? Non-existent? Passable? Or, would the garment violate reasonable standards of hygiene and possibly a few health codes? She may also assess suitability. Is the recipient child already or approaching the approximate age/ size for the item? Or will it have to languish in storage for years to come? Best to keep things relevant and not pass size 10 clothes on to a newborn. To avoid potential awkwardness, the well-mannered mother may offer the recipient a chance to decline her second hand treasures. Rather than drop a bag by the house when no one’s home, she may call, email, or ask in person, saying something along the lines of “I was cleaning out Ian’s closet and have some adorable shorts and shirts that he’s outgrown. I was thinking your family might be able to use them. Would you be interested?” This gives the mother a chance to say, “Thanks but we’ve already got more clothes than we need.” Or, “yes! when can I come get them?” A truly gracious mother may clean out her children’s closets, organize everything into discrete piles, and invite a few friends over to select which items they can use. Sort of like a trunk show, only much, much better.